Sunshine, the perfect breeze, and a plate piled high with grill-able goodies – it's time to fire up a backyard barbecue. But are you fully acquainted with all the do's and don'ts for your grilling get-together?
We've put together some simple safety tips – from food prep to burn prevention – so you can stay safe at your next cookout.
One of the best ways to prevent food poisoning is to keep your meat under 40° F before cooking. The dangerous temperature zone for food is often between 40° F and 140° F.
Never leave uncooked meat in the danger zone for more than 2 hours. If it's warmer than 90° F outside, throw away uncooked meat after 1 hour. It's between those vital temperatures that bacteria responsible for most food-borne illness grow.
Keep meat refrigerated until you're ready to grill.
One of the greatest benefits of grilling out is that you can save money from eating at a restaurant. However, it's important that you cook your food to the appropriate temperature before serving.
Once your food is on the grill, gauge the internal temperature by using a food thermometer. Cook all poultry to an internal temperature of 165°, cook burgers to 160°, and – at minimum – 145° for steaks and chops since preparation preferences may vary. Find more information about safe food temperatures here.
The unfortunate truth is that you're far more susceptible to food poisoning in your own home than you are at a restaurant or dining establishment. How can this be? Health inspectors monitor restaurants on a regular basis to ensure preparation and food temperatures meet safety standards.
But when was the last time a health inspector checked your kitchen?
Since you can't run your grill grates through the dishwasher, it sometimes takes a backseat to being cleaned properly. This can lead to a few issues that may put a damper on your barbecue.
Residual grease can often cause flare-ups when grilling, which can lead to serious burns if you're unprepared. Keep the lid closed until your grill has reached its optimal cooking temperature. After you're finished cooking, use a wire brush to scrape free the leftovers stuck to the grates.
One staple of the backyard barbecue is gathering your friends and family members together for the fun. However, this can mean a lot of foot traffic near your grilling space. Be sure to warn adults and children alike of a hot grill.
The surface of a grill can heat up to dangerously high temperatures – certainly hot enough to cause serious burns. Keep the kids from playing near the grill, and make sure adults have fair warning – even a grill that's turned off and cooling down can cause serious burns.
For many, a cold beer is the compliment to a perfect barbecue. Just make sure it doesn't get out of control. You don't want your guests driving under the influence, and you could be held responsible if someone leaves your party and crashes.
In Pennsylvania, this is referred to as Social Host Liability. It's your responsibility as the party host to provide a safe environment for your guests. Know your rights before you host your next backyard cookout.
Keep these tips in mind before your next cookout, and you'll be all set. From everyone at our law firm, we hope you stay safe, have fun, and enjoy your barbecues.